The Suncoast Post Story in 2018 about Tony Bennett, “The Greatest Of All Time” at the Van Wezel in Sarasota
We lost a treasure yesterday. Tony Bennett’s passing has brought in tributes from all over the world. In 2018, Vicky Sullivan did a write-up for “The Sarasota Post,” which is now “The Suncoast Post,” about Tony’s performance at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. It brought back some great memories. Here is the original story:
Tony Bennett is an American treasure. He was Frank Sinatra’s favorite singer, Lady Gaga has a tattoo honoring him, he has sung for 11 U.S. Presidents, has 20 Grammys, including lifetime achievement, and is still playing to audiences at age 91!
Mr. Bennett came to Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Saturday night to play a makeup show for the cancelled performance last year during Hurricane Irma. The sold-out show had an eclectic crowd, from baby boomers to octogenarians, kids to rockers and everybody else in between.
His daughter, Antonia Bennett opened the show with a short set of standards. Her voice was beautiful, smooth with a bit of an occasional rasp that had a cool vibe. Antonia has attended Berklee School of Music and travels all over the world with her father.
Tony appeared in suit and tie, smiling and waving to the first of many standing ovations of the night! He is all business about music and played back-to-back classics with little chat. From “Fly Me to the Moon”, “The Good Life”, “The Way You Look Tonight,” and of course, his signature, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” he never missed a beat, a line, or a note. His strength in holding notes on several songs was absolutely amazing. The audience shouting out between songs, “We love You, Tony! A humble Bennett talks about gratitude for his lengthy career.
His four-piece quartet is stellar. He gives each member individual attention as he makes his way around the stage, and they take solos. As a unit, they are impeccable and, with Tony’s voice, are one whether playing jazz, classics, or pop songs.
Mr. Bennett has had such an interesting life, from his upbringing in New York City to his being a renowned artist and painter. The Rat Pack and most of his contemporaries are gone, but Tony Bennett keeps their era alive as well as staying contemporary by continuing to record and tour with some of today’s biggest music artists. We have been lucky to experience a true artist in Tony Bennett, who keeps giving! Be sure and check out his official website for everything, Tony!
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography